Driving in Thailand
Driving in Thailand and exams - a strange link!
My daughter has her first IB English exam today so understandably I feel a bit frazzled. My parting advice wasn't the best. I told her if she didn't understand the commentary then to write on the prose, or vice versa. She asked what should she do if she didn't understand either. I said that if she was in that situation then she'd 'had it' or words to that effect. She looked shocked and, on reflection, the advice perhaps wasn’t so helpful! I'm afeared that was pehaps a little too honest as far as reflections go! I decided to focus on driving in Bangkok instead!
My Driving Trip in Bangkok
Believe it or not I did used to teach IB English, back in the day. Those were the 'good old days' when I didn't use cliches and I could make a thousand snap decisions in the 'blink of an eye'. I'm sure I had better advice for the students I taught. Putting that aside, this sense of being frazzled was exacerbated as I was due at the chiropractors for my third session at 8.00 am and my plan was to drive myself after dropping Mick and Betsy off at school.
I know that doesn't sound such a big deal, but driving in Bangkok isn't something I've done much of, or I'm very confident in doing. In addition it was raining, the Thai schools holidays have ended so the traffic was extra bad and I have no sense of direction. (I really don't and when I'm in the UK I still get lost visiting my brother, who has lived in the same village, close by my own, for about 20 years.) Anyway, embracing my fifty-something risk taker persona, (did I tell you I drive a Porsche in the UK?!) I set off to the chiropractor with more than an hour to spare. I had a full tank of diesel, plenty of podcasts to listen to and figured I couldn't go too far wrong. Famous last words..
Firstly, Mr Satnav, took me a different way to his last week's route - confusing or what? Secondly, I missed the entry onto the highway (I think) and had a lot of 'recalculating' background noise to listen to. Thirdly, Mr Satnav suddenly increased my journey time by about twenty minutes just because of my small error (not friendly), fourthly, he took me straight into VERY busy traffic and then decided to stop speaking to me for far too long, (a sulky Mr Sat Nav is not helpful) fifthly, when I finally reached Soi 79, Mr Satnav (note he not I, despite the large sign saying Soi 79) overshot the entrance. Consequently, I had to swerve left in order to park a little further up in Tops supermarket carpark which caused some pipping (unecessary in my opinion), amongst usually tolerant Bangkok drivers (I can only assume they were fed up with the rainy morning. Having parked the car I was able to take a motorbike taxi back to the chiropractor. (Great use of my initiative me thinks, if not so great for my back and not at all good for my safety and desire for a long life!) However, albeit twenty minutes late, I had made it. A small victory. (Feel free to stop reading now and skip to the end, more of the same coming up.)
I've resisted going on about my bad back, it's a story in itself, but an hour later and 2,200 baht lighter I was heading back to the car. It was now raining, I no longer had aforementioned Mr Satnav, but I did have Ms Googlemaps on my phone so I was able to find my way out of the mooban (housing estate) on foot. Previously used motorbike taxi had now done a sensible runner, visitor's pass was lost for some minutes, whilst I rummaged through my bag under the beady eye of the mooban's guard, but eventually I made it back to Tops. Another small victory, well arguably a big one as Saint Mick would have had something to say if I'd lost the car. (Don't worry I'm not as daft as I look and had taken a photo of the parking centre it was in and the floor it was on - smart eh!)
One Starbucks latte and cinnamon bun later, (guilty treat - ok almost daily guilty treat) I explored a new TOPS supermarket (new adventure). No dried yeast and no Robinsons' squash, but I still managed to load up with carriers, (I’d forgotten my bags for life -again) and get suitably disorientated in the shopping centre whilst trying to get the receipt stamped for my car. I'll by-pass how the escalators were broken and my arms were extended to gibbon proportions. Also, it would be very impolite to mention how I was in grave danger of wee-ing myself as I'd not gone before leaving the chiropractors. Eventually, car relocated and having driven round and round unable to find the 'down' bit, of the multi-storey carpark (I didn't really get to the top of the car park before I realised that the up and down bit was one and the same) and almost getting arrested for not paying the 20 baht car parking fee. (If I had to pay why did I need to get my receipt stamped?) I made it back home. EUREKA! A BIG VICTORY I'd say.
Driving around Bangkok is only something I've started doing since finishing work and I find it a bit scary to be truthful, but I am not going to give up. When I was working full time my journeys were limited to school, the supermarket, or if I was really living on the edge a shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon. Now, I've thrown hospitals and chiropraactos into the mix there is no stopping me!! Today every step of the way, I did something wrong, and what I achieved was no more than 'normal' people do with their eyes closed (metaphorically obviously..) However, as I now sit in my front room worrying, only a little bit, about my daughter's exam, I'm feeling, just for a minute, fairly frazzle free and quietly pleased that I didn't just jump in a taxi to get to the chiropractors. I'm definitely chalking up this mindset as another small victory. In fact it is one that I would celebrate with a chocolate digestive, if I hadn't forgotten to buy them whilst in the supermarket! Room for improvement!